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Leyton Orient director of football Martin Ling: The best advice I could give when it comes to mental health is it’s good to talk

PUBLISHED: 15:30 24 May 2018

Errol McKellar's awareness-raising work has already seen dozens of men receive prostate cancer checks (pic: Polly Hancock).

Errol McKellar's awareness-raising work has already seen dozens of men receive prostate cancer checks (pic: Polly Hancock).

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The O’s director of football has had two bouts of depression in the past, but is enjoying life at Brisbane Road and will be there on Sunday

All the details ahead of Errol McKellar's Big Game, Big Cause charity event at Leyton Orient's Brisbane RoadAll the details ahead of Errol McKellar's Big Game, Big Cause charity event at Leyton Orient's Brisbane Road

Ahead of this weekend’s ‘Big Match, Big Cause’ event at Brisbane Road, Martin Ling has spoken about the importance of talking when dealing with prostate cancer and mental health issues like depression.

Leyton Orient’s director of football is involved with a charity match taking place on Sunday at O’s E10 home.

The game is between Martin Ling’s London Legends and Errol McKellar’s Celebrity XI and will be in aid of Prostate Cancer UK and East Hertfordshire Mind Network.

Both charities have a close place in the hearts of Ling and McKellar and the duo were at the centre of the previous event back in 2015 at Brisbane Road, which saw 2,900 people turn up to support the cause.

McKellar was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2010, but fortunately caught it early enough to survive and yet from then he made it a mission to raise awareness of the condition.

He offers customers at his Hackney garage a discount if they agree to be tested for prostate cancer and has helped save the lives of many people.

Ling, meanwhile, has had struggles of his own with mental health and had two bouts of depression in the past – once while managing at Torquay United in 2013 and during his time at Swindon Town in 2015.

After coming through the other side, the Orient director of football has discussed why it is so important people talk to others in all walks of life.

Martin Ling, Errol McKellar and John Mackie after the charity match for Prostate Cancer UK at Brisbane Road in May 2015 (pic: LOFC).Martin Ling, Errol McKellar and John Mackie after the charity match for Prostate Cancer UK at Brisbane Road in May 2015 (pic: LOFC).

Ling said: “The mental health charities and mental health problems, every one of them is in and around talking.

“If you talk to people and don’t isolate yourself, you tend to get out of it quicker or don’t go into it at all, so that’s the best advice I could give.

“Prostate cancer is also a part of the man we don’t want to talk about, but again without Errol doing what he does in his garage, there would be people dead now.

“Again it’s another issue relating to talking and mental health is obviously for men and women and prostate just for men, but both are about talking.

“Errol and I were talking about it recently and the people who have cancer and prostate cancer do dip into the mental health depression side of things because you start to realise you are not very well and you start to isolate yourself.

“But the people who recover better are the people who talk, I really do believe that, and both charities will understand it is good to talk and we always say certainly in these instances it is good to talk.”

After having their own battles and coming out the other side, Ling and McKellar now do their fair bit of helping others going through something similar.

Orient’s director of football, who spent six years at Brisbane Road previously as a manager, feels honesty is always the best policy.

Ling said: “Errol and I are two working class blokes I suppose and we have had our problems and we have had to fight them problems, but it still doesn’t stop you being humble and someone nice to talk to who understands.

“I know he’s like that and I am like that and you do this job and sometimes you have to make really difficult decisions with people, but if you do things honestly, you’ll always win.”


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